Overnight Cybersecurity: Fallout from Tillerson's ouster at State | Trump blocks Broadcom deal | Military officials push for aggressive cyber stance

Overnight Cybersecurity: Fallout from Tillerson's ouster at State | Trump blocks Broadcom deal | Military officials push for aggressive cyber stance
© Greg Nash

Welcome to OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY, your daily rundown of the biggest news in the world of hacking and data privacy. We're here to connect the dots as leaders in government, policy and industry try to counter the rise in cyber threats. What lies ahead for Congress, the administration and the latest company under siege? Whether you're a consumer, a techie or a D.C. lifer, we're here to give you ...



--Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Pompeo working to rebuild ties with US diplomats: report NYT says it was unfair on Haley curtain story MORE OUT AT STATE: In a dramatic development that unfolded Tuesday morning, President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE removed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoRosenstein report gives GOP new ammo against DOJ Pompeo rejects ‘good cop, bad cop’ characterization of Russia strategy Pompeo: 'Enormous mistake' for Iran to blame US, allies for attack on military parade MORE in a move that stunned Washington with its timing. Trump is nominating Gina Haspel, Pompeo's current deputy, to lead the CIA. Trump told reporters Tuesday morning that he made the decision "by myself," signaling he did not speak with Tillerson before firing him. "I actually got along great with Rex, but really, it was a different mindset," Trump said from the White House. Those comments belied the fact that Trump and Tillerson had repeatedly clashed, most famously when the secretary of State reportedly referred to Trump in private as a "moron." The report clearly got under Trump's skin, and the president responded by challenging Tillerson to an IQ test. Trump tweeted the news of the staff changes shortly after Tillerson's firing was first reported by The Washington Post. "Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State," Trump tweeted. "He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!"



--THE ABRUPT DECISION is likely to have some cybersecurity-related implications. Tillerson's brief tenure has been rocked by criticism and continuing signs of low morale at the State Department, where he has often been perceived as an absent leader. Tillerson faced scrutiny in Washington, even from Republican lawmakers, as he has overseen a controversial redesign of the State Department that has been unpopular among officials there. In particular, he has been under the microscope for a decision to close the State Department's cyber diplomacy office and fold its responsibilities into a bureau focused on economic and business affairs, as part of the broader reorganization. It is unclear to what extent Pompeo would continue Tillerson's reorganization effort. Trump's decision also remakes the top leadership at the CIA, one of the main components of the U.S. intelligence community. Haspel would be the first woman to lead the CIA should she be confirmed to the post by the Senate. Haspel has already faced some criticism on Capitol Hill for her role in controversial interrogations.

To read our full coverage, click herehere and here.


--TRUMP BLOCKS BROADCOM DEAL OVER NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERNS: President Trump late Monday blocked what would have been the biggest tech deal in history, saying the Singapore-based Broadcom's efforts at a hostile takeover of Qualcomm posed a threat to national security. The announcement came just hours after Broadcom CEO Hock Tan met with officials from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. (CFIUS) to make his case for the deal, according to a source familiar with the meeting. CFIUS had launched an investigation into the national security implications of the deal last week over concerns that it would hamper U.S. efforts to develop 5G wireless networks and other emerging technologies. CFIUS on Monday recommended that the president veto the deal. "Broadcom is reviewing the Order," the company said in a statement. "Broadcom strongly disagrees that its proposed acquisition of Qualcomm raises any national security concerns." In an order released Monday night, Trump said he'd been presented with "credible evidence" by CFIUS that the transaction could threaten U.S. security. In a letter to both companies' attorneys last week, the interagency panel said it was concerned that Broadcom's takeover would put at risk U.S. efforts to build next-generation wireless networks, thereby giving Chinese firms the opportunity to take the lead.

To read more from our piece, click here.



Lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee are holding a hearing Wednesday afternoon on the state of federal information technology.

The hearing -- a joint effort by the subcommittees on IT and government operations -- will examine plans across the federal government to modernize IT and particularly the Trump administration's efforts to implement the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act, a provision signed into law as part of annual defense policy legislation last year.

The Trump administration has already released guidance to agencies on the law's implementation.

Wednesday's hearing will feature testimony from several government officials, including representatives of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).



The majority of individuals who responded to an online survey conducted by Lawfare do not take steps to protect their data, such as using encryption, anonymous browsers, or password managers like LastPass.

For instance, roughly 51 percent of respondents answered that they do not encrypt data on their phones or computers, while only 18 percent said they do. About 66 percent of respondents said they do not use a password locker or storehouse to secure their pages, while only 12 percent replied in the affirmative.

Still, a majority of respondents--59 percent--said they have not had personal information stolen in a company data breach, compared with only 16 percent who said they had.

To check out the full survey results, click here.


A LIGHTER CLICK: Are pigs finally getting their wings with the help of Farmland Gene editors? (Technology Review)



Top officials: U.S. must shift to more aggressive cyber approach: Top U.S. military officials on Tuesday warned that the nation's defense force is lagging behind other countries that are actively ramping up their cyber capabilities, with some arguing that the U.S. must shift from the position of a defender to that of an aggressor.

Senior cyber representatives from the U.S. Army Cyber Command, Marines Corps, Navy, and Air Force appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee's Cybersecurity Subcommittee to testify about the challenges and needs they are encountering.

Major Gen. Chris Weggeman, Air Forces Cyber Commander, said cyber is different from traditional military arenas because there are no recognized geographical lines drawn as for land, air and sea.

Weggeman argued that the U.S. military must become "more oriented on mission outcomes, risk models, and threat driven operations" in order to allow the U.S. "to become the challenger instead of the challenged."

His remarks come after Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNelson campaign to donate K from Al Franken group to charity Political shenanigans mask true problems in Puerto Rico The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — The Hill interviews President Trump MORE (D-Fla.), the top Democrat on the Cybersecurity Subcommittee, expressed concern about the ongoing Russian efforts to sow discord in U.S. affairs and meddle in elections.

"I fear for American democratic institutions if we don't attack," Nelson said.

Nelson also raised concern that there is no government-wide policy established that lays out how to respond when the U.S. faces a cyberattack. He cited several cases in which states carried out attacks against the U.S. or American organizations -- not just those executed by the Russians, but also attacks carried out by the North Koreans and other nation states.

Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsOn The Money: Treasury rules target blue-state workarounds to tax law | Senate approves sweeping defense, domestic spending bill | US imposes B in tariffs on Chinese goods | Panel narrowly approves consumer bureau pick Senate panel narrowly approves Trump consumer bureau pick GOP sen: Sessions is ‘the right man for the job’ MORE (R-S.D.), the subcommittee's chairman, pointed to the challenge of naming the attacker in the case of cyber threats, which contrasts from the military's ability to more quickly determine who is carrying out the attack against them.

All the witnesses spoke about the ongoing need to recruit and retain talented cyber professionals. All four cyber officials said they are testing ways to give credit and bonuses to reward good work.

Vice Admiral Michael Gilday of the U.S. Navy also added that they are confronted with a non-competitive salary of $37,000 per year, which lags far behind the base pay of the private sector.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.



Links from our blog, The Hill, and around the Web.

Senate panel to hold Pompeo nomination hearing next month. (The Hill)

Conservatives press for action on FBI bias. (The Hill)

Women at Microsoft filed more than 200 complaints of discrimination, harassment. (The Hill)

Negotiations with North Korea over nuclear program could spur consequences in cyberspace. (38 North)

Researchers warn of AMD processor vulnerabilities. (Motherboard)

Waymo shows off self-driving cars at SXSW. (TechCrunch)